Leeds United have pursued the signature of Fernando Forestieri from Watford these last few days, showing that they rated the player, conducting themselves with respect – and a fair, businesslike attitude towards a significant move in the transfer market. Forestieri did not reciprocate the respect, and his attitude too was found wanting.
It was apparent days before United abandoned their attempts to sign him that Watford’s surplus striker would have had a mountain to climb gaining the approval of Leeds followers. Quite rightly, those passionate and loyal fans expect some eagerness to be shown by potential incoming players, an evident desire to pull on the white shirt. Forestieri showed none of this, and had alienated the Leeds support well before he dropped off United’s radar. Doubtless he will be more suited to the less demanding environment at Hillsborough, where innocently delighted Wendies will ask nothing more of him than that he should choose S6 over LS11.
In the end, Leeds acted decisively, ending their interest in Forestieri and, it seems, making a successful bid for Jordan Botaka, currently of Excelsior in the Dutch Eredivisie. Botaka, 22, known as “The Wizard” for his pace and trickery on the wing, is a full international for Congo and is highly regarded as a player of great skill and enormous potential.
Just as importantly for Whites fans, he has shown the desire that we should expect of a player who wants to come to Leeds and make a real impression. The player describes his impending move to Elland Road as “not a hard decision”. That alone makes him infinitely preferable to the reluctant Forestieri, and it may well be that Leeds have dodged a bullet in avoiding what could well have been a negative element in the squad.
Good luck to Forestieri at the Wendies. On yesterday’s evidence with their limp surrender at home to Middlesbrough, he will probably need it, but at least he’s found himself another comfy, Watford-sized club. Botaka, meanwhile, has shown far more confidence and ambition, for which we roundly applaud him.
It appears also that Leeds might be buying wingers in bulk, with an English-based player also tipped to sign before the window closes. Wolves’ Rajiv van La Parra has been strongly linked, but may prove not be that man. Don’t rule out a loanee central defender either, with Leicester’s Liam Moore consistently talked up as a target. These are busy and exciting times at Elland Road.
Welcome to Leeds United, Jordan. Barring any last-minute hitches, you will be joining a club where you can make yourself a legend and become a star with a global fanbase.